“Look Dad it’s a giant hedgehog,” exclaims Lulu. In front of us is a 3 metre high round rock with grass growing on top. Within a 30 minute walk together we had discovered five magical creatures. Not bad for a stroll on a public beach!
I’m sure you’ve played this game lots with your children and friends that usually starts with a familiar looking cloud and ends with seeing leaping unicorns. It’s a fun way for creative kids and adults to apply their imagination and just as importantly share the fun.
“It encourages flexibility and being able to problem solve at will”
Scientifically this process is known at ‘Conceptual Blending’ and kids are great at it! The process is connecting different ideas together using known experiences. For this to happen the mind needs to be free from constraints. This is why young children are masters as they have yet been taught to categorise and label. ‘For the rest of our lives these categories remain separate, they never combine. It’s as if fluid thinking of children becomes frozen, like ice cubes in a tray, each cube representing a category; our thoughts become frozen’ (E Bachrach – The Agile Mind). Liberating the creative mind is a passion of ours and introducing randomness has now become part of our daily practice.
“Introducing randomness has now become part of our daily practice.”
The outlook is ‘what if…’ and it’s one we need to foster in a world that can be obsessed with logic and analysis. This kind of play is very important to us. We know it is preparing our young people with the confidence to pursue their many interests. It encourages flexibility and being able to problem solve at will. Introducing randomness has now become part of our daily practice.
‘It’s a toothbrush’ Jonty exclaims as the creative kids pass around a non distinct stick. They are playing a game of seeing how many things a single object can become. As the game progresses the interpretations become more unique. The children are drawing on past experiences to conjure up their answer and with each round their wonderful brain is searching for more connections.
“These are the same skills that are coveted by the most innovative people and companies.”
From Leonardo De Vinci to Thomas Edison it is a well known amongst innovators that introducing randomness can generate novel and creative ideas. So often in education it is the logical answer that gains the highest grade but in life and business we need to search for our own original answer.
Young children do not know what they can’t do. Their world is so big and open. Imagination and improvisation are their tools for discovery. These are the same tools that are coveted by the most innovative companies. These are the same skills that are needed to solve major world problems. We need to make sure improvisation and imagination are allowed to flourish for our children and for our future.
We explore conceptual blending further with one of our creative challenges. ‘Wearable Creations’ is where you become the creator of your very own mystical creature.
Enjoy the randomness!